“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Tim. 4:1).
“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13).
In the last days of grace, there will be two areas for which to be especially watchful in regard to those who minister the Word. Paul warns us that some, but not all, will depart from the faith that was once near and dear to their hearts. They will abandon the sound doctrine that was first delivered to us by the Apostle Paul and will instead give heed to seducing spirits. As they teach things that are contrary to Paul’s gospel, it will cause a great deal of confusion among the brethren, which is a masterful ploy of Satan, who is the author of confusion. But why would these teachers knowingly depart from the truth? The reasons are many and varied: notoriety for discovery of a so-called new truth, wider acceptance in mainstream Christendom, larger numbers, and other temptations of fleshly, earthly gain.
The level of confusion increases dramatically when we add ministers who intentionally deceive the unsuspecting to build a utopian or cultlike ministry. Paul says they have “a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (2 Tim. 3:5). In a word, they will deny the preaching of the Cross, which is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:18). Those who come under their spell will have their ears tickled with inspirational messages, but there will be a deafening silence when it comes to the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, or Christ’s precious blood.
The apostle is clear to all who will listen when he says, “from such turn away.” If you fail to do so, you will be swept into what is either their unsound teaching or a web of deception. Beware! Paul’s solution to avoid these dangers is really quite simple: “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them” (2 Tim. 3:14). In a nutshell, follow Paul as he followed Christ. A well-rounded understanding of Paul’s epistles will be a safeguard against error and will protect you from being misled or succumbing to the clever schemes of men.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.